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The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has concluded a prolonged patent investigation, issuing a general exclusion order prohibiting the import of footwear that infringes Crocs Inc's utility and design patents. The general exclusion order serves as the remedy resulting from a finding by the ITC in April 2011 that Crocs' patents were enforceable and that remaining respondents had violated the Tariff Act of 1930.
Two cases pending before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit deal with the questions of which rule applies when someone buys a copyrighted article outside the United States and then imports it, and whether such importation is an act of infringement under Section 602 of the Copyright Act or a permitted activity under the first sale doctrine.
The growing demand for high-fashion footwear means that, increasingly, companies are turning to IP legislation to protect their footwear products. Perhaps the most notable recent case is Adidas America, Inc v Pay Less Shoesource, Inc, in which Adidas won a $304.6 million judgment in connection with its three-stripe design mark at trial.